Oct. 13, 2013
By Jon Cooper
Saturday night’s 38-20 lost to BYU was a difficult one for Georgia Tech.
It certainly was a step back for Adam Gotsis — several steps back, actually. Minus-19 yards back to be exact.
That was the total in lost yardage for the sophomore nose tackle’s four tackles for loss, including two sacks — both career-highs.
“It’s not something I notice during the game,” Gotsis said. “It’s helping our defense out, getting us better field position and putting us in better spots to make better plays. If I’m able to do that and do my job then I feel like I’m doing well out there. Everyone else can fly around a bit more.”
The Australian-born Gotsis shattered his career-bests for TFLs and sacks, as his four stops behind the line of scrimmage equaled his total for the season (he had 5.5 career TFLs coming into Saturday night), and gave him a team-best 8.0 for the year, while his two sacks matched his career sack total and give him a team-best 3.0 on the season.
Year Two finds him light years ahead of where he finished Year One.
“It’s definitely exciting. The defense is flying around,” he said. “I credit Coach [Mike] Pelton and his coaching, the mentality he’s brought. That’s all it is, they’re putting us in the right spots at the right time so it’s pretty good to have coaches that can do that.”
Gotsis, who had 1.5 TFLs all last year and one sack, got his first sack on a third-and-12 on the game’s first series, trapping BYU QB Taysom Hill for a three-yard loss, forcing a punt. He added a minus-five-yard stop on an Adam Hine run on BYU’s first possession of the second quarter, slowing down a drive that would result in a field goal.
Unfortunately for Georgia Tech, slowing the up-tempo Cougars, especially in the first half, proved too difficult task.
“I think a lot of it was just us not getting lined up, not getting the calls in time,” Gotsis said. “It was kind of what we expected them to do, the same sort of thing that we planned for.
“I think the speed was definitely a bit faster than last week against Miami but I thought we made good adjustments and started getting the calls in toward the end,” he added. “It was tough there at the start and then we just had to figure out adjustments, which we did at the end, but it was a little too late.”
BYU had all the right answers in the first 30 minutes, rolling up 345 yards of offense on Tech. That was the most in a half against a Yellow Jackets defense since Oct. 10, 2009, when Florida State put up 403 yards in the first half of a 49-44 shootout win in Tallahassee. Gotsis gave credit to the Cougars.
“I felt like everyone was confident, but it was the speed of their offense,” he said. “It was tough to get the signals in and things like that because they were right up on the ball on every play, and I’ll give them credit for that. They’re a great offensive team.
“We just came out as a defense, we started off slow, which we can’t afford to do anymore,” he added. “We have to come right out of the gate.”
They did that in the second half. Led by Gotsis, who assisted on a pair of one-yard losses in the third quarter (one with DT Euclid Cummings, the other with DE Jimmie Kitchen) and sacked Hill for a 10-yard loss in the fourth, contributing to three of the four three-and-outs Georgia Tech forced in the second half.
“I think the defense as a whole was doing its job. When we filled our gaps and got into our alignments, we made good plays,” he said. “I can’t take credit for all of that because everybody on the D-Line is doing their job. It’s the unit as a whole, we all get rewarded from it. If anything, it’s something for us a group to try to repeat it every week.”
The Jackets will try to build on their second-half play as they get back to work this week in preparation of next Saturday’s home game against new ACC rival Syracuse.
“We have to go out and put on a good show for the crowd and come out with the `W,'” he said. “It’s a big game for us and we can’t afford to lose another game.”
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